Skip to comments.Researcher contends multiple sclerosis is not a disease of the immune system
Posted on 12/22/2011 3:19:09 PM PST by decimon
An article to be published Friday (Dec. 23) in the December 2011 issue of The Quarterly Review of Biology argues that multiple sclerosis, long viewed as primarily an autoimmune disease, is not actually a disease of the immune system. Dr. Angelique Corthals, a forensic anthropologist and professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, suggests instead that MS is caused by faulty lipid metabolism, in many ways more similar to coronary atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) than to other autoimmune diseases.
Framing MS as a metabolic disorder helps to explain many puzzling aspects of the disease, particularly why it strikes women more than men and why cases are on the rise worldwide, Corthals says. She believes this new framework could help guide researchers toward new treatments and ultimately a cure for the disease.
Multiple sclerosis affects at least 1.3 million people worldwide. Its main characteristic is inflammation followed by scarring of tissue called myelin, which insulates nerve tissue in the brain and spinal cord. Over time, this scarring can lead to profound neurological damage. Medical researchers have theorized that a runaway immune system is at fault, but no one has been able to fully explain what triggers the onset of the disease. Genes, diet, pathogens, and vitamin D deficiency have all been linked to MS, but evidence for these risk factors is inconsistent and even contradictory, frustrating researchers in their search for effective treatment.
"Each time a genetic risk factor has shown a significant increase in MS risk in one population, it has been found to be unimportant in another," Corthals said. "Pathogens like Epstein-Barr virus have been implicated, but there's no explanation for why genetically similar populations with similar pathogen loads have drastically different rates of disease...
(Excerpt) Read more at eurekalert.org ...
Can someone brake this down to a non scientist level?
Whatever, it sounds great.
Doesn’t explain the relapsing-remitting course of the disease, or why it tends to be worse in men, although they get it less often.
I'll give it a shot.
Myelin is a substance that is part of a sheath covering portions of human nerve cells. It acts as an insulator, much as the plastic sheath around a spark plug wire acts as an insulator. With that myelin sheath in place, nerve signals can travel quickly down the nerve.
In multiple sclerosis, something damages the myelin sheaths in the brain and spinal cord so the nerves cannot transmit their signals properly. This can affect everything from vision to skin sensation to muscle strength to bowel regularity and more.
For decades the conventional wisdom has been that multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. This means that it is caused by a malfunction of the human immune system. The immune system is supposed to attack and destroy (among other things) bacteria that enter the body through a cut in the skin. It is not supposed to attack and destroy perfectly normal myelin sheaths in the brain and spinal cord.
The linked article proposes a new theory of the cause of MS: that multiple sclerosis is not caused primarily by a problem with the body's immune system, but by an error in the way that the body handles fats.
We are all familiar with a common health problem related to fats: hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. The new theory proposes that exactly the same fat-handling problem that causes hardening of the arteries can cause multiple sclerosis. In both cases, cells mistakenly create little deposits of "bad cholesterol." The immune system then attacks those little deposits, damaging surrounding tissue. When this happens in the circulatory system, it creates hardening of the arteries. When it happens in the central nervous system, it creates multiple sclerosis.
With the old theory, the job for M.S. researchers was to figure out how to fix or at least counter the effects of a defective immune system. If this new theory is correct, then the job for M.S. researchers is to stop cells from producing the little deposits of bad cholesterol. That changes the places where researchers will look for cures.
I have a lot of MS in my family ...I tend to think it is auto immune ..
Thank you so much for your patience and kindness in educating me. Reading your post was fascinating. I will keep it for the future. I really, really learned a lot from you. It was not wasted time toward me on your part.
I now understand every word of it.
It is truly fascinating as a new direction is on the march away from the autoimmune theory.
By the way, Foxs Neil Cavuto suffers from M.S. and before that battled cancer. (http://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/features/neil_cavuto_deals_with_ms)
Thank you again for your time to educate me.
My love to you and your family.
Have a great Christmas.
You are welcome, it was my pleasure. You have a great Christmas too.
I came across this video about how this lady beat her MS with the paleo diet. It’s very interesting and informative.